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What Happens after Someone Gets Arrested in Collin County, Texas?

As a criminal defense attorney, I often times receive frantic calls from people who have just learned that one of their friends or family members has been arrested and is currently being held in jail. And, while there is a wealth of information available online about an accused’s rights and the criminal justice system in general, there seems to be very little information aimed at actually describing what happens after someone is arrested, taken into custody, and the process that usually follows. What makes this information even more difficult to find is that the process can differ from city to city and from county to county. So, today, I’m going to try to break down the entire process from start to finish in a very basic and general way that deals exclusively with Collin County, Texas. But, this process may be the same or similar to other counties as well.

What Jail is a Person Taken to after being Arrested for a Crime in Collin County, Texas?

A friend or family member calls you at 1 a.m. and informs you that he or she has just been arrested. Just as they’re about to give you the details, you hear a police officer shout, “Hey, give me that.” Then, the line goes dead as the officer yanks the phone out of your loved one’s hand. Obviously he or she is probably going to jail, right? But, which jail? How long will it be before he or she gets released? Has a bond been set? If not, how does that happen, and how long does it take? If so, how much is the bond, and how do you post it?

Well, first thing’s first. When a person is arrested in Collin County, he or she is usually taken to the Collin County Detention Center located at 4300 Community Avenue, McKinney, Texas 75071. This is usually for one of two reasons, if not both. One, several cities in Collin County do not have their own jail facilities. Therefore, they must use Collin County’s central jail. Two, unless a person is arrested for a Class C Misdemeanor (which isn’t too common), his or her charge will eventually be filed in either the county or district court depending on whether the charge is a misdemeanor (county) or felony (district). Cities do not have county and district courts. Only the county does. So, it makes sense that a person who is arrested for a crime that will ultimately be prosecuted in a county or district court would be held in custody at the county jail.

Let’s look at an example to help understand how this works. The City of Plano has their own jail facility. So, if you’re arrested for an outstanding traffic citation (Class C Misdemeanor) that you received in the City of Plano, chances are you will be arrested and held in the Plano jail until you make arrangements to take care of your warrant. However, if you’re arrested in Plano for Driving While Intoxicated, a Class B Misdemeanor, chances are extremely good that you’ll be taken directly to the Collin County Detention Center because the charge will eventually be filed in the County Court.

So, if a friend or a family member is arrested, it is helpful to know what they’ve been arrested for. However, as I mentioned above, people are usually only arrested for crimes that are greater than a Class C Misdemeanor which means that they’ll probably end up at the Collin County Detention Center. You can conduct an inmate search of the Detention Center here. Please note, however, that sometimes you have to wait up to 24 hours for the site to update since the book-in process can sometimes take several hours.

When and How is Bond Set after Being Arrested in Collin County?

Next, once a person who is arrested arrives at the jail, they must be booked in. While this usually takes only a few minutes in the movies, this can actually take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours in real life. After booking is complete, the next thing that must happen is that the person who has been arrested must be taken before a magistrate or Judge so that bond can be set. In fact, you cannot bail a person out of jail until a bond has been set, and this is usually done in the morning. If the arrest occurs over the weekend, Collin County typically has a Judge come in on Saturday and Sunday mornings to set bonds for people who were arrested the previous day or night. So, bond is usually set within 24 hours of a person’s arrest in Collin County. However, depending upon the exact time of an arrest, sometimes it’s possible that somebody will slip through the cracks and narrowly miss the Judge, which means that it could take up to 48 hours for a bond to be set.

So, what do you do if a bond has not been set? In Collin County, if a person is arrested for a misdemeanor, an attorney can file what is called a writ of habeas corpus which basically forces a bond to be set as soon as the writ is filed. Therefore, let’s say that a friend is arrested around 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning for assault. By the time he gets to the jail and is booked in, he’ll have missed his opportunity to see the Judge that day to have his bond set. Therefore, he’d either have to wait until the next day to see the Judge, or he’d have to contact an attorney to file a writ on his behalf which would immediately trigger a bond. You can use the same inmate search link that I referred to above to see if a bond has been set for an inmate and, if so, how much the bond is.

Once Bond has been Set, How Can a Person Who has been Arrested Get Released from Jail?

Basically, the bond must be posted. This can either be done in cash or through a bail bondsman. Let’s use another example to see how this works. For this example, let’s assume that drunk Uncle Pete has just been arrested for Resisting Arrest, and his bond has been set at $1,500. Now, if you have $1,500 in cash and you really like Uncle Pete, you can go directly down to the jail, pay $1,500, and he will be released from custody. The drawback of posting a cash bond is obviously the fact that you must have the entire amount of cash on hand. But, the benefit of posting a cash bond is that, after Uncle Pete’s case gets resolved, you should get your $1,500 back.

So, what if you don’t have $1,500? This is when a bail bondsman can come in handy. Basically, how a bondsman works is that he’ll charge a reduced percentage of the bond, and he’ll keep that percentage as his fee for posting the entire amount of the bond. So, Bruiser’s Bail Bonds may only charge you $250 to go down to the jail and post the entire $1,500 bond to get Uncle Pete out of jail. However, once Uncle Pete’s case gets resolved, Bruiser will get his entire $1,500 back, but he’ll also keep the $250 that you paid to him as his fee for the service that he provided.

What Happens After a Person Who has been Arrested is Released from Jail in Collin County, Texas?

After a person posts bond and is released from jail, they must wait for the formal criminal charge to be filed against them. Often times, people tend to think that, once you’ve been arrested for a crime, you’ve also been charged with a crime. But, this is actually not the case.

If you’ve been charged with a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class B Misdemeanor, the formal charging instrument is called an information. So, until an information is filed with the county court, you have not been formally or legally charged with a crime. An information gets filed by the District Attorney after he or she reviews the facts of your case and decides that there is enough evidence to move forward with it. Usually, this takes about 6-8 weeks after the time of your arrest but, in certain circumstances, it can take even longer. Once an information is filed, that is typically when you will receive notice of your first court date, which is generally about a month later.

If you’ve been charged with a Felony, the formal charging instrument is called an indictment. Unlike an information, the District Attorney cannot file an indictment against you based upon his or her decision alone. In order to file an indictment, the District Attorney must present the evidence that he or she has against you to a Grand Jury, and they must agree that the District Attorney has enough evidence to proceed with the case before an indictment can actually be filed against you. This whole process usually takes about 8-12 weeks after a person has been arrested. And, after an indictment has been filed, you will receive a notice of your first court date just as you would above.

Is the Process Described in this Article the Same for Everyone who has been Arrested in Collin County?

No. As I mentioned above, this is just a good starting point that will get you familiar with the basic process and some of the terms and issues that you will probably encounter if you or a loved one has been arrested in Collin County, Texas. But, the process certainly differs from person to person and from case to case. The criminal justice system is complicated, and there are exceptions to almost every rule. If you have questions about a particular arrest or a particular case, feel free to contact me at (972) 372-4054.

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